#mustread #PremierLeagueStories on Jan 15 2020 – Why World Cup winner #PepeReina has joined relegation strugglers Aston Villa ?
Aston Villa have completed the signing of goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan until the end of the season.
Dean Smith had made 11 signings after winning promotion in the summer which included a goalkeeper Tom Heaton from Burnley. However, situation changed for Aston Villa after first-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton got ruled out until the end of the season with knee ligament damage. Norway keeper Orjan Nyland had deputised in the meantime – having previously been Villa’s first-choice keeper during their promotion season from the Championship – before succumbing to a severe injury of his own.
Villa were in the market for striker as well and the search for striker led them to availability of world class former Liverpool goalkeeper and Barcelona academy product – Pepe Reina. Villa wanted to bring in Piatek from AC Milan but whilst talking about a deal for the Polish attacker, they were offered the chance to land Reina too.
Manager Dean Smith said “We’ve managed to secure a player in Pepe who has a wealth of Premier League experience. At the start of the summer we were looking for an experienced goalkeeper and brought in Tom Heaton. Unfortunately, his injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season but Pepe fits our criteria not just because of his experience but also because of his leadership qualities.”
Pepe Reina allegedly fancies a Premier League return, and believes he is still good enough to make an impact in England’s top-flight as a first-choice goalkeeper. Reina, now 37, made 285 Premier League appearances for Liverpool in a hugely successful stint at Anfield. A World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain, Reina needed one last crack at playing regularly before hanging up his gloves – and Aston Villa gave him an opportunity.
Villa sit just a single point above the drop in the top flight and cannot afford to be relegated in their first season after being promoted.